The Tel Aviv police announced Wednesday that it is preparing en masse for another demonstration by the Ethiopian community allegedly planned for Wednesday night, stating to the press that they expect violence and are deploying hundreds of policemen.
A Tel Aviv police source told Walla! News that they did not intend to continue to allow the rioting, looting and assaulting police officers – as happened in the big demonstration in central Tel Aviv early last month in which dozens of people were injured.
"We will take a firm hand against anyone who violates the law," he said.
On at least one previous occasion, the Tel Aviv police mistakenly claimed to the press that a protest was being planned despite repeated denials from the Ethiopian community, but Wednesday's statement appears to be genuine.
Organizers of the protests took to social media Wednesday to encourage Ethiopian Israelis to flood Tel Aviv Wednesday night, and Walla! adds that posts call for violence.
"We must ensure that the incident gets out of hand," wrote one of the organizers. "We must be painfully loud – the most powerful pain is hitting civilians and cause a race war."
For fear of a violent demonstration the commander of the Tel Aviv District Police, Commander Benzti Sau, has called up hundreds of officers and the Home Front Command to secure the demonstration. He has also met with local intelligence agencies – and it is the intelligence he has gathered, more than the posts, which he stated raises cause for alarm.
Two Israel Police officers brutally beat Ethiopian soldier Damas Pakada in Holon earlier this month, sparking a series of mass protests in major Israeli cities.
Israel has some 135,500 Jewish Israelis of Ethiopian descent, including more than 50,000 born inside the country, according to AFP.